Heading to West with a Stop in Wallace, Idaho

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This was an amazing stop, and totally unplanned. The heat was on so we wanted to be plugged in for a few days.  The campground was Wallace RV Park, which is on a creek and the big selling point to us was has a brewery attached.  After getting off the interstate we drove through this adorable western mining town and then into the campground.  The campground, while the sites were small the location was amazing.  It had a railtrial (Trail of the Coeur d”Alenes) right outside the door which was amazing for working on my training.  It was underneath the interstate for a couple miles which made it very pleasant to stay out of the hot sun.  The trail is something like 73 miles long. 

The town is full of history. It is located in Shoshone County, Idaho in the Silver Valley mining district of the Idaho panhandle.  It was founded in 1884 and sits on the Coeur d’ Alene River and Interstate 90.   They had more brothels there than in San Fransciso did at one point.  The last one closed in the 80’s, the 1980’s.  It then became a museum and the rooms were rented it out.  There is an old theater there as well, however the summer program had not started while we were there.  One day we went on the Mine Tour (Sierra Silver Mine Tour).  We started at the Silver Mining Store, which is part store and part museum and ice cream parlor.  We hopped on a trolley that took us to our tour, after a steep ride up the side of the mountain we were greeted by a Miner who had us place a hard hat on our heads and off we went into the mine.  Very dark and very damp place.  After our 45-60 minute tour down below we decided that spending 12 hours per day in the dark, damp place would not be our idea of fun.  It was interesting how the miner’s lived and we now know that they did not make a lot of money but they would spend some money at the many brothels.  After our mine tour our driver collected us to take us on a tour of the town of Wallace.  In which we learned about the history of Wallace and how it became and why it became the only town in the US that all the buildings, homes are on the National Historical Registry.  Apparently in the 80’s again the 1980’s the government wanted to build the Interstate right through the town, so the town put every house on the historical registry.  

One evening we went to the brewery  (City Limits Brewery) we sat at the bar and a gentleman asked to sit next to us.  We started to chat up Bruce, he is a native of the town of Wallace, however he lives in San Antonio and goes back for a few months in the summer, can’t blame him for that.  Anyway, he was telling us about growing up there and the making of the railtrail.  He said when he was in the military they told the people when on leave they did not want them to go to San Fransciso or Wallace because of the amounts of brothels.  He also told us how the building of the railtrail was a way to unpollute the area. The area was polluted when they were taking out the railroad so the government told the town you either have to spend a lot of money to get rid of the pollutants or “cap”, capping is what they did and the railtrail was born.  There is a train museum, which we did as well, worth our time for sure.

Speaking of Railtrails, there is one we did the Hiawatha Trail.  It is an unpaved railtrail that is awared the Rails-To-Trails Hall of Fame designation.  It is considered the “crown jewel” of rail trails and after riding the trail I can honestly say we agree.  The adventure begins at Lookout Pass on the Montana/Idaho state line.  We drove up there and rode our bikes down, very little pedaling needed.  The trail is a 2% downhill grade of 15 miles of amazing views on the abandoned Milwaukee Railroad.  The trail has 10 tunnels, (one is 2 miles long, long dark and damp) and the trail also has 7 trestles.  After we got to the bottom there were some nice folks to take our bikes and us back up to the top, well almost the top, we have to ride the tunnel back to the beginning. It cost us less than $30.00 each for the ride and the return shuttle.  They rent bicyles and helmets (must be worn) and headlights (a necessity as well, remember the 2 mile, dark, damp tunnel), however, we had our bikes, helmets and lights with us.  We were finally able to use our bikes since we left Florida and were grateful for having our own and my Ion headlight and tail light.  After we got back we were wishing there was more.  If this is something you want to do check out the schedule at  ridethehiawatha.com. 

While we were in Wallace our days were spent exploring and the afternoons were spent enjoying the little town, checking out the breweries and just enjoying hanging around the campground.  

During one of the afternoon walks with Eris the Court’s bailiff asked us to bring Eris to the courthouse he had a cookie. He told us to go ahead and bring her in and he meant all the way in up the marble stairs and up to the lobby area where he could give her a treat. He said they are very proud of not having a dog policy. The hospitality in the whole town was amazing, for a second I thought we were in the south.

Bottomline, if heading west and you are like us and don’t have concrete plans be sure to do a stopover in Wallace, Idaho.  If we had time we would be heading back there.  

Next week’s blog we are skipping ahead to the Seattle area as there wasn’t much to be said about where we were in eastern Washington, because we were fleeing the heat.  

So until next week keep exploring, discovering and dreaming, whether you are traveling or staying in place.  

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowrider camping hound

PS if you would like to purchase any of my photo’s, email me and I will be happy to sell you some.  I will be reopening my Etsy store in the near future as well, selling cards and magnets of my prints. Look out for that coming soon.

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It’s Time for Yellowstone Part I, but First Here Comes the Teton Pass….

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So after spending a wonderful, memorable week in the Teton’s it was time for us to move on, in order to do this we had to go through Jacksonhole and head over the Teton Pass, after traveling across the country I have driven a lot of mountain passes but I gotta tell you Teton Pass is not for the faint at heart, it is never ending or so it seemed.  We made it through and I assume it was beautiful but my hands were firmly placed on the steering wheel and eyes on the road and I kept peeking at gages as well, maybe someday without us towing our home we will go up it again and check out the views, but honestly I wanted it overwith as did Eris.  Eris is not crazy about passes, we can tell, just wonder if it is because she cannot “pop” her ears or if the twisty turny road hurts her belly.  Either way, I am with her on that, this Florida girl is not happy driving them either.  

Well after we made it to that we went through Driggs (where we will be going to the XCapers Convergence in August.  Cute town and are looking forward to heading back.  We found a perfect campsite in Island Park, Boot Jack Dispersed Camping, it was free and it was easy to get in and out of and close to West Yellowstone.  After getting settled we did what we always do with a national park, headed in to get the way of the land.  We have been there previously (3 times to be exact, once just Mike and I, once with Annette and Cathy (we did a backpacking trip) and once with the girls, however, even though with the girls we did stay in West Yellowstone we never really did much on that side of the park.  We did do the required stops like Old Faithful, but mostly we just kept heading over to the Canyon area.  

One day we went to Mammoth area, saw some elk just chillin’ on the lawn, and we did all the pull offs and hiked the Mammoth area.  The weather in early June was perfect (mostly).  

Of course we got stuck in our fair share of “bison jams”, which I always like, got some great shots of some bison.  Also a lot of animal butts, a little cooperation would be lovely but I am certainly not one to ask them to move or smile for the camera.  

We did spend some time in West Yellowstone.  They have a great camera shop there (Yellowstone Camera).  I got a great zoom lens, which will be great for my wildlife photos when we come back.  When we come back we will be going on a scenic boat ride but what I am most excited about is the photo safari.  Honestly, we didn’t know these exist but not only do the exist they are reasonable.  Scenic boat ride is $19.00 per person and the photo safari is a little over $100.00.  They will take me and a few others to the areas where wildlife is present, I am hoping for a bear.  

One very cold morning (puffy jacket cold)  we got up super early and headed into the park in the dark, to try to beat the crowd for the Grand Prasmatic shot, well, the steam washed it out.  But we had a great hike and got some great shots regardless. Then we headed to Old Faithful and had breakfast at the Snow Lodge.  We walked the boardwalk around Old Faithful and made it back to what I think was a great place to see it “blow”.  We then headed to do the scenic drives.  Scenic drives are nice and relaxing, they have pull offs where they need to be and ususally have ample parking to see such.  I highly recommend doing any scenic drives that are available.  The ones in Yellowstone do not require a 4 wheel drive truck, but if any of the parks suggest that you have a 4 wheel drive truck, heed that advise oh and be sure to know how to use your 4 wheel drive properly.  On the scenic drives we did, one had a ton of thermal features and the other had some waterfalls and mountains.  While we were freezing when we left home in the morning our Waggle went off that it was 94 degrees inside the camper.  It was a hot night,  so we made our plans to move on. 

After a few days, I needed to go see Canyon, as that area has been our favorite part of the park.  I am excited to be spending some time on that side in August but wanted to see it just the same.  Oh my has it changed.  We did the scenic drive to the Yellowstone Canyon, of course.  

We ended up staying a full week in our free campsite.  Very unique area and can’t wait to return.  Yellowstone for sure is our favorite national park and if you haven’t been, make plans as pictures do not do it justice.  

That’s all for this week, hope you enjoyed it, and if you did please consider following us and liking it.  We will be back next week as we make our way to Deer Lodge, Montana, a surprisingly interesting cowboy town and if we weren’t looking for air conditioning we might have missed it and then back boondocking in Missoula.

So until next week, keep exploring, discovering and dreaming…

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowrider camping hound

Joshua Tree to Williams and Grand Canyon and Favorite Item of the Week

We left Joshua Tree to make it towards Grand Canyon.  We made it after a very long drive to Williams where we found a decent campsite and then headed to the little town of Williams.  It is such a cute little town that really is the gateway to the Grand Canyon.  They Grand Canyon Railroad takes off from there and if we didn’t have a 4 legged kid with us we would have done it.  Anyway, we were only gonna stay at the campground that we stayed at for one night and then move closer to the Grand Canyon but there was things we needed to do in Williams so we stayed where we were and drove the hour to the park.  

The campground we stayed at was Garland Prairie Road Dispersed Camping.  It was free and was really a nice area. My only complaint was no real workable cell service.  We figured ok, next place will have it so we will just suffer it out until then.  

We headed into the Grand Canyon in the afternoon on the second day and it was a good time to go, crowds were lighter and our wait to get in was not so bad.  Well the I should say the crowds were lighter as far as waiting at the gate and parking.  However, the first thing the both of us thought was wow this is like Animal Kingdom (Disney for those of you who aren’t familiar), heavy crowds and sort of hot.  We got the papers from the Rangers and got the lay of the land.  Eris was able to do anything on top of the rim, which I was good with that, I didn’t have any intentions of hiking down at least not this time.  So we hiked the rim and oh my it did not disappoint. I am grateful for digital camera and I did not have to print the what would have been rolls and rolls of film in my previous days.  We headed into the park twice like this, in the afternoon and the second time in we did the scenic drive and again were not disappointed.  We did see some Elk, and deer on both days.  Eris really doesn’t know what to make of them.  Really since we weren’t really going to be doing any of the hikes other then on the rim two days or should I say 1 full day was really enough.  The beauty was amazing and every step we took was breathtaking.  But after a while we realized that everywhere we turned would not look much different then the other locations.  

One day while there we headed into Williams to go to the laundromat.  It was clean and reasonable.  Another evening we were so looking forward to going to the Grand Canyon Brewery.  Well when we got there we were sadly disappointed. It was filled to capacity and no one, I mean no one, except us was wearing a mask.  Felt so unsafe.  We had Covid once and we do not want to get it again. So we left. 

Another day we took a drive to Flagstaff, what a beautiful place.  We could move there if we didn’t already have our winter home in Florida.  We took Eris to the groomer, got her bathed and nails done, got an oil change in the truck, found an REI where we got Eris a pair of boots, she was not thrilled with them when we tried them on her but she may like them in the future.  Also, we decided that all the REI’s out here have amazing views.  The view was San Fransciso mountain range.  Mike asked the girl at REI and said if there is one thing we have to do in Flagstaff what would it be, she did not hesitate to say Snow Bowl. We were taking the scenic drive home so we passed right but the mountain pass that took us up to Snow Bowl.  Eris did not know what to make of that white stuff.  We didn’t try her in the boots, maybe we should have.  Snow Bowl itself was closed but there were trailheads there.  We weren’t really prepared for snow and ice so we headed back down.  We drove the rest of the beautiful drive back home and just chilled.  

After a few days we figured we have seen enough and were ready to move on and on the morning we decided we needed to head down to lower elevation we woke up to 15 degrees.  We were headed to Sedona for a few days to check out the red rocks.  

So be sure to check back next week to hear all about our stay in Sedona. 

This week I am most grateful for the addition of the handle on our screen door.  Where we are currently it is 25-30 mph winds with 50 mph gusts.  It’s crazy, to hear about this be sure to check back with us next week. 

If you want up to date status be sure to check out our Instagram page, I update that daily.  @what_r_we_waiting_4 

Until next week, if you enjoyed this be sure to like and consider following us and subscribing to the email list.  

Hope, Mike and Eris

Week One of Fulltiming

We left St. Pete, our home forever to start our next adventure on Tuesday, February 2, 2021. We headed to the cabin for two nights.  We were able to get the utility trailer emptied before we left.  The cabin has always felt to me a great place to escape the city.  It dawned on me that while our mailing address is in St.  Pete our home is wherever we park it and our sticksnbricks is the cabin.  We got up early to extremely cold weather and unloaded the utility trailer, with Annette’s help and closed up the cabin for the next 9 months.  First stop was Topsail Hill Preserve State Park for  two nights.   

Topsail is beautiful with full hookups and concrete or gravel pads.  Nice size sites. Walk-in tent sites and cabins  mixture of bungalows and mobile homes.  The best part is its trails and proximity to the beach.  There are shuttles to go to the beach or you can just walk. It, of course, was raining almost the whole time we were there and when we left.  We were smart this time and put our chairs away before the rain. It was a beautiful first stop and we highly recommend this park.   We decided to make Friday’s our find our local craft brewery. We found Grayton Beer Co this week and were not disappointed.

We went through Alabama onward to Mississippi. We had reservations at Shepard State Park.  Nice enough site, but very uneven, gravel sites.    Apparently though they don’t clean the campsites between guests. We picked up a trashbag worth of trash left by others. There is 28 sites and a really new bathhouse.  There are some interesting hiking trails.  Deep woods and 1000 feet away is marsh land.Beautifiul in it’s own way.  The storms of last summer really paid a toll on this park.  There were picnic tables which we could tell were swept in by storm surge and thrown into the trees, plus a lot of “floatable”, ie cups etc., were washed in way up on the trails. We can tell alot of improvements are happening in this park.  They have a new ranger station which will also house a gift shop/campstore, which should be opening soon, they have a new boardwalk, which probably replaced something that was there but probably destroyed.  The trails have been maintained but I imagine there was more markings on the trail which is still missing.  There is an archery range, some of them only Catness can hit I am sure.  There is disc golf course, which looks pretty intense, a dog park, some primative camp sites.  All and all we enjoyed ourselves here.  The campground makes you feel like you are still camping.  The days were mostly nice and evenings even nicer.  We also got to put another state sticker on our map.  

We went to our first national park of this trip.  It was Gulfshores National Seashore.  Quite beautiful.  The visitor center was still closed because of Covid and some of the trails were destroyed in the storms.  The campground was open and I was able to get my National Park Passport Book stamped.  

While in Mississippi we also saw Buffett Beach, obviously we had to stop and get a picture of it.

The odd thing I find with all the marshes I would have thought we would have seen some wildlife, except for the stupid snake we really didn’t see anything.  

We are spending  4 nights here and tomorrow we head to NOLA.  When we picked 2.2 as our date to take off it was to attend Mardi Gras, well all the fesitivities for that have been cancelled.  But we will find plenty to do I am sure, not to mention just some basic life items.  First thing first is to get my credit card replaced.  Before we even left Florida my card got jacked.  So we immediately called Chase to have another one issued.  I called Bayou Segnette State Park, (our LA park) and asked if they would accept mail for us.  They said they would so hopefully when we arrive it will be there.  We also need to get the ac in the truck fixed, not that we have needed much ac now but we will soon, so we made an appointment for that this week, and while Mike is dealing with that Eris and I will hang at the campsite, get some work done and do laundry.  I don’t know how much help she will be. We will go to some of the things we wanted to see the last two times we were there but didn’t get to do.  We will have fun there for sure.  Then it is off to Texas. 

Follow along for our adventures, you never know where we will be, we certainly don’t…..

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Until next week,

Hope, Mike and Eris the LowRider Camperhound